Histrio histrio (Linnaeus, 1758).
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Sea mouse, mousefish.
Antennariidae) are somewhat similar to their monkfish relatives in that they have a large head on which are located several isolated dorsal fin spines; the pectoral fins appear armlike. They are strikingly different in that the head is globose and the body is flattened laterally (compressed) rather than dorsally (depressed). In addition, the second and third dorsal fin spines usually are surrounded by so much fleshy skin that it may be difficult to recognize them as fin spines. The second, or soft, dorsal and anal fins are much more conspicuous, and the soft dorsal is usually much longer than the anal fin. The sargassumfish is characterized by its very short angling apparatus and its smooth skin, which lacks the small, spiny scales or dermal spinules typical of most other frogfishes. Its color pattern is changeable and highly variable, but it is usually cryptic, consisting of streaks, spots, and mottling of brown, olive, and yellow, making it nearly impossible to detect among the sargassum weed in which it hides.
The sargassumfish has the widest geographic
of any frogfish. Being an obligate associate of sargassum weed, they are found wherever this species occurs, that is, in tropical, warm temperate, and occasionally cool temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They appear to be very rare in the eastern Atlantic, and they are absent from the eastern Pacific.
The sargassumfish is the only frogfish species that is not benthic. It is only found associated with the epipelagic brown algae, Sargassum, in tropical and warm temperate environments. Although Sargassum is usually pelagic, members of the community associated with it, including the sargassumfish, are technically pseudopelagic.
Most of what is known about the
of sargassumfish is associated with their feeding. This
is described in the introductory section.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Like most other anglerfishes, sargassumfish are ambush predators that use aggressive mimicry to attract prey. Most observers describe them as particularly voracious, feeding readily and indiscriminately on anything they can swallow, including fishes as long as or longer than themselves. They even consume other sargassumfish. They are one of the major predators of the sargassum community.
Reproduction in the sargassumfish is similar to the known reproductive
of other anglerfishes. The eggs are released in the typical egg veil or raft, which in sargassumfish may be 35–47 in (90–120 cm) long and 2–4 in (5–10 cm) wide.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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